During the cigar boom, it was not unusual for gentlemen to get together and hold a cigar dinner. These days, it has become a rarity. We have our man cave, our pool hall, cigar lounge, you name it, but the class of a hosting a cigar dinner is becoming extinct and it's time to bring it back.
A cigar dinner can be a casual or more formal gathering of friends. It can feature rich meals and wines or it can be a simpler event held in the outdoors. There aren’t rules for holding a cigar dinner. The goal is often to create a space where friends can get together, share their journeys with each other, create a bond, and discuss pressing topics. But -- there are a number of things to be aware of.
1. The Place
Your cigar dinner idea will not get off the ground if you can’t find a place in which to host it. This will likely depend on several factors, including the number of people you’re expecting, whether your home is a good place to host (this might be contingent on your family), as well as the time of year (if it’s warm outdoors, you might consider taking your dinner to a suitable park or campsite).
Cigars aren’t enjoyed by everyone, and this is a reality you need to remember if you’re planning to gather many people in the same place to enjoy a puff together.
2. The Rules
Though not essential, if you’re planning to make cigar dinners a regular event, you may consider enforcing a few guidelines to enhance the experience.
For instance, you might choose to have all guests contribute something to the dinner. You may want to set goals for the event, such as offering support to a friend in need. If the dinner will be held in your home, then you may want to make parts of your house “off limits”, especially for smoking.
If you’re thinking about setting guidelines, never make them too complicated, and remember that the whole point of a cigar dinner is to have fun.
3. The Cigars
You can’t hold a cigar dinner without cigars.
So, will you be providing the cigars? Will you be encouraging your guests to bring their own? Which cigars will you purchase in preparation for the dinner?
These are important questions to ask, and you can always get feedback from friends who are planning to attend.
4. The Fire
You can light your cigar however you want to. You can use matches, you can use a lighter. You can spend good money on a premium lighter, too, if that’s what you prefer.
If you think you might be lighting cigars both indoors and outdoors, then a torch is your best option. It will make it easier to light your cigar, even when you’re coping with a bit of wind.
6. The Humidor
You might need a way to keep those stogies fresh, and if you’re a cigar enthusiast, you probably own a humidor already. If not, now might be a good time to find a quality humidor before your next cigar dinner. Humidors range in both price and appearance. If you're looking to get something affordable, try the Boveda Large Acrylic 75-Cigar Humidor, the Bey-Berk Olive Wood 100 Cigar Humidor with Glass Port Hole or even the Capri Black Oak Glasstop 50- Cigar Humidor.
However, if you're looking to impress a few guests, try some of the Northwoods Humidors top tier selections like the Elie Bleu Black 110-Cigar Humidor New Medals Collection, the Daniel Marshall 30125 Signature Series 125-Cigar Humidor w Tray - Precious Burl Wood, or the Diamond Crown Alexander 160-Cigar St. James Series.
At any cost, your choice to include a new humidor is a smart one.
5. The Accessories
As with most cigar accessories, you can find both inexpensive and premium cigar cutters. A poor cut, unfortunately, can ruin a good smoke, so you may want to put some money towards a quality stainless steel cutter.
You may also want to purchase and prepare several cutters, depending on the size of your event.
Unless you’re planning to hold the dinner outdoors (which is worth considering), you’ll probably want a few ashtrays ready for your guests. The number of ashtrays you require will depend on the number of guests you’re planning to host.
7. The Meal
Is there a perfect meal for a cigar dinner, or for that matter, a gentlemen’s dinner? The simple answer is “no”, though it’s often best to keep it simple.
Steak is typically a staple at cigar dinners, and for good reason. It’s tasty, filling, and not too hard to make. You can easily complement the steak with sides liked grilled corn, salads, potatoes, or any side that suits your palate. Pair the meal with your cigars and drinks for best effect.
You could make the cigar dinner a potluck style event if you like, encouraging your guests to bring different dishes. If you have the budget, or if you want to focus more on the conversation than the details, you could also have the event catered.
8. The Drinks
The perfect steak should be paired up with a perfect wine. In addition, you may want to have brandy, whiskey or bourbon prepared for after the meal digestif. The choice is yours to make. You can match your drinks to the cigars and meal you are planning.
9. The Mints
Though not essential, it can be helpful to have mints onsite. After all, not everyone likes cigar breath, and if you do it right, you’re going to be spending a good chunk of the night chatting with others, so you should have a quick way of freshening up your breath. A strong mint ought to do the trick.
10. The Attitude
With the basics covered, there isn’t much more you need to prepare for a cigar dinner. Having a great attitude puts you in the right headspace for hosting your friends. It makes you a better host, a better listener, and more sensitive to the needs of those around you.
Something can go wrong, no matter how well-prepared you are. But if you set the right intention for the gathering, there’s a good chance it will go smoothly and be a lot of fun.
Again, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to go about hosting a cigar dinner, but the above should offer some worthwhile tips and ideas to get you on the right track. Cigar dinners can be a lot of fun and can remind you of the simpler joys of good company, conversation, food, drink, and of course, cigars.